_A STUDY OF FLIGHT (201811)
The beauty and complexity of design in nature, achieved by small incremental improvements made over millennia, is far in advancement of our own technological achievements. A Study of Flight is an exploration through making to replicate the dynamism of a wing aloft and apply my engineering knowledge to a sculptural output.
Fig .1 Hand driven kinetic prototype, a wing with two planes of rotation
Fig 2. Cardboard mechanism iterations
I have always found the intricate, predetermined movements of mechanisms to be deeply satisfying; a puzzle to translate one form of motion into another. As in nature, only by experimenting and iterating could I gain an understanding of the interaction between linkages and the degrees of freedom governing them.
Through observations of the common London pigeon I built an understanding of the structure of the wing and their planes of rotation. My early prototypes were strips of cardboard connected by drawing pins and powered by hand. With successive iterations I refined the movement, gradually adding complexity and transitioning from cardboard to acrylic and aluminium. While computer modelling helped me to fine tune the dimensions, I opted to manufacture and build by hand at every stage.
Fig 3. Sketches exploring form, assembly and mechanism variations
Fig 4. All hand machined aluminium links and rivets, and their interaction with the motor are exposed to the scrutiny of the observer
Fig 5&6. Using a rotary encoder hidden in the base, one can scroll through the bird’s range of movement or release it in continuous flight
Early sketches show my intention to cover the structure in material to suggest the form of a bird. The final sculpture is, however, stripped back. All hand machined aluminium links and rivets, and their interaction with the motor are exposed to the scrutiny of the observer. The sculpture is designed to be interacted with. Using a rotary encoder hidden in the base, one can scroll through the bird’s range of movement or release it in continuous flight once a velocity threshold is reached.